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"Hara Documents 8 omokage in/visible- Kazz Sasaguchi"
2002-10-12 until 2003-01-13
Hara Museum of Contemporary Art
Tokyo, , JP

The Hara Documents series has been held since 1992 to promote collaboration between artists and curators in the presentation of experimental and evocative exhibitions. The eighth Hara Documents features the up-and-coming artist Kazz Sasaguchi. Born in Tokyo in 1962, Sasaguchi studied at the Chelsea College of Art and Design in London, and received the excellence prize from the "Art Scholarship 2001" (organized by the Artist Support Foundation Committee) soon after his return to Japan last year. This exhibition consists of new "ball work" installations by the artist, recent two-dimensional works on "cosmetics," together with selections from the Hara Museum's permanent collection.

What do omokage and in/visible signify? Works of Kazz Sasaguchi

At first glance, Sasaguchi's ball work installation appears to consist of random collections of black balls floating in the air, but a closer look reveals them to be uniquely positioned so as to conjure up human figures. The subtle shapes are in fact modeled after real human bodies, with each ball carefully positioned to create life-size human forms. Viewers will surely be impressed by the figures' uncanny presence and sense of reality. From this presence come forth intangible furniture (table, bed, etc.) and silent conversations, giving form to things that are invisible but which exist. In Sasaguchi's two-dimensional work consisting only of the names of cosmetics and perfumes bring to mind the faces of people we know despite the fact all we are presented with are display of coded information.

Sasaguchi creates works by conducting thorough research on the body structure of actual human beings, which in turn is used in a detailed "mapping."* Consequently, the production of his ball work series is based on meticulous labor. It begins with the marking of various points on muscles, joints and other parts of human body. After a thorough analysis of the results (and making of scale model), each point is transferred onto clear, perpendicular threads. The cosmetics series is drawn from questionnaires collected from several female participants. However, through the process of abstraction, the completed work becomes removed from the individuals themselves to become generic characters that are at once everyone and no one at the same time.

Humans have the power to imagine. They have the ability to relate one thing to another even from a collection of dots and lines or a combination of simple codes. What "becomes visible" from Sasaguchi's works is in effect the world of notion, made up of memories and reminiscences inside the viewer's mind. In other words, his works communicates with us directly and function as a medium through which one may extract things that are invisible but which exist, such as past presences, sentiments and memories. Another fascinating aspect of his work is the tension that arises from the subtle balance that exists between opposing elements, such as visible versus invisible, and stillness versus movement. The installations also have transience-once the exhibition is over, they disappear. Yet the momentary nature of each encounter may trigger a sense of expansiveness, as if a door to eternity has opened.
*Mapping-The representation of certain information with other information.

About the exhibition...

One of the special features of this exhibition is the architecture of the Hara Museum. The museum was first constructed as a private residence in early Showa period (1938), and the present galleries served formerly as living room, study, dining room, bedroom and other living spaces. In addition to being a private residence, the Hara Museum's unique design has continued to exude a freshness and a beauty that transcend the passage of time, capturing the fancy of a great many artists and providing inspiration to new artistic expression.

Unlike the previous Hara Documents, the concurrent exhibition of selections from the museum's permanent collection, selected on the theme of "omokage" and "in/visible," will not be held in a separate space, but rather interspersed within the same spaces as Sasaguchi's figures. In this exhibition, the harmonious blending of three components--Sasaguchi's works, the permanent collection, and the museum's spaces-promise to give the venue a fresh "face."

Kazz Sasaguchi
figures (nowhere to go), 2002

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